1 - The Show Must Go On (GM Reference)


Extinction Curse

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Has anyone made a handout version of the tricks? The art and the information on the inside covers are fantastic and I'd like to be able to hand these out to my players for the sake of planning and as they recruit new performers.

It would be cool to have a template set up that I could fill out for my PCs as well, adding artwork and their checks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Hebert wrote:

Has anyone made a handout version of the tricks? The art and the information on the inside covers are fantastic and I'd like to be able to hand these out to my players for the sake of planning and as they recruit new performers.

It would be cool to have a template set up that I could fill out for my PCs as well, adding artwork and their checks.

In nothing materilizes by the time i start running this in a month or two i'll make something for my players and share it here.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Terrific, thank you, Thrawn. I tried but my Gimp-fu is lacking and I wasn't satisfied with the results.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is the GM expected to use random events in the first circus show? Or are all of the established events mentioned in the module meant to BE the random events?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Is the GM expected to use random events in the first circus show? Or are all of the established events mentioned in the module meant to BE the random events?

I played the first show without any additional random events. I am debating letting the circus performance stuff slip into the background and letting the party focus on the story. I have managed to delay things out for a second performance before the party goes off to the hermitage, but it has felt pretty forced to make the players be involved in the circus when people are going missing and dying around town at a pretty alarming rate. I think they will still travel with the circus, but having them tied to the daily operations feels a little punitive. That could just be my players though, who are really just along for the ride/to have light hearted fun with the campaign.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Can a performer choose not to spend all their actions during a circus act? For our opening show, nearly every performance only used two actions because no one could find a rule stating we had to us all three, and because no one wanted to risk a critical failure with a -10 penalty on the check.

Also, am I correct in assuming the dream pollen pods only get four attacks and then need to rebuild their pollen supply for an hour before being able to make more pollen attacks?


Re: pollen.

If so, that is definitely not clear. But if the heroes are surprised by the pods, as opposed to standing ready well out of range, it might not be a bad idea.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zapp wrote:

Re: pollen.

If so, that is definitely not clear. But if the heroes are surprised by the pods, as opposed to standing ready well out of range, it might not be a bad idea.

I keep hearing about how lethal that encounter is for people who don't take advantage of the plants' immobility.

Makes me wonder if they might be running it incorrectly, giving the plants infinite attacks when they're only meant to get four per hour.


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Ravingdork wrote:

I keep hearing about how lethal that encounter is for people who don't take advantage of the plants' immobility.

Makes me wonder if they might be running it incorrectly, giving the plants infinite attacks when they're only meant to get four per hour.

Since I nearly TPK'd my entire party, I kind of see your point...


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Ravingdork wrote:
Zapp wrote:

Re: pollen.

If so, that is definitely not clear. But if the heroes are surprised by the pods, as opposed to standing ready well out of range, it might not be a bad idea.

I keep hearing about how lethal that encounter is for people who don't take advantage of the plants' immobility.

Makes me wonder if they might be running it incorrectly, giving the plants infinite attacks when they're only meant to get four per hour.

That is likely the intent, but it isn't written well to indicate that. It seems to indicate they keep spraying pollen until you kill them or disable them. I can see how that was likely the intent as the other way is way too strong.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

That wrecker demon tho. I think it got a crit every round. And these players are new and don't have the best teamwork yet. I felt bad for how brutal it was. Barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer all got knocked out, though the bard got the barbarian back up.


Captain Morgan wrote:
That wrecker demon tho. I think it got a crit every round. And these players are new and don't have the best teamwork yet. I felt bad for how brutal it was. Barbarian, rogue, and sorcerer all got knocked out, though the bard got the barbarian back up.

I was merciful destroying their items as well. That item attack is painful.


James Hebert wrote:
Has anyone made a handout version of the tricks? The art and the information on the inside covers are fantastic and I'd like to be able to hand these out to my players for the sake of planning and as they recruit new performers.

Late to the party on this one, but I actually did recreate Book 1's tricks as handouts for my players. As we're starting the game next month, I haven't taken a crack at the others and haven't set up a template for doing so, sadly.

I'll try and post them up here in a few hours!


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Here we go!


Ruzza wrote:
Here we go!

Thanks, i'm starting the campaign tomorrow and this will be a reallly useful resource to give to my party :)


Hey Ruzza,

Are you going to do the same thing with the acts in the other 5 chapters?


Warloga wrote:

Hey Ruzza,

Are you going to do the same thing with the acts in the other 5 chapters?

I hadn't made any plans to do so, but if people are interested, I might. I'm also crazy busy the next month so I can't promise anything solid.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ruzza wrote:
Here we go!

This is supurb!! thank you! We are starting in ~ 2 weeks and I plan to tease these out in our group chat to get the group familiar and get a feel for who i might want to flesh out into full characters


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Zapp wrote:

Re: pollen.

If so, that is definitely not clear. But if the heroes are surprised by the pods, as opposed to standing ready well out of range, it might not be a bad idea.

I keep hearing about how lethal that encounter is for people who don't take advantage of the plants' immobility.

Makes me wonder if they might be running it incorrectly, giving the plants infinite attacks when they're only meant to get four per hour.

That is likely the intent, but it isn't written well to indicate that. It seems to indicate they keep spraying pollen until you kill them or disable them. I can see how that was likely the intent as the other way is way too strong.

I think i will try to run in this way as werll, where the thing gets 4 attacks, per hour, minus one for each they manage to disable with the hazard mechanics.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Late to the party but thought I’d add our groups initial experience. I GM’d Extinction Curse for five veteran players. I will admit at first we were all a little hesitant about the circus theme, but as we explored the setting anticipation grew.

Party makeup:

Half-orc Titan Mauler - security
Human Storm Druid - animal handler
Human rogue - ringleader (more on this)
Gnome bard - clown coordinator
Lizardfolk Monk - shallow diver

We played 2.5 hours, and in that time we went from opening scene through all 7 Acts. Only one PC chose to act, which was the lizardfolk monk shallow diver, who managed to pull off two successes in his act.

The group managed to beat all of the conflicts - they beat the ruffians and drunks without lethal damage (ruffians non-violent) and I gave the security half orc an excitement for the brawl with the drunks, charmed the vipers in the stands for which I awarded a bonus excitement, had the Kanbali’s perform without a net successfully. Only two critical fails happened, both were covered by the clown coordinator. Most acts got 1-2 successes. In the end, even with GM granted bonuses and all conflicts optimally resolves, the group did not manage to get Excitement > Anticipation. They were 15/16... that’s right, they lost because of a critical success. TBH, they didn’t take it harshly at all - they did their best with a tough situation, and they’re looking forward to next weeks performance to really wow the people of Abberton. So while I absolutely agree that the 15 anticipation is almost unobtainable, I also felt like coming close but not making it up was bittersweet and somewhat motivating.

The only catch we ran into was that there was no mechanic for the ringleader ... am I just missing it? That seems like a significant role, and with Myron’s absence it was giant hole that needed to be filled. The rogue took to it immediately (she was originally going to be a snake dancer, but had actually dumped the idea for ringleader before she actually met Elizia). We ended up allowing her three costar aid checks which seemed fair.

Everyone had an absolute blast, and they are very much looking forward to next game. The Druid has it absolutely pegged that there’s another Druid behind all this. What I am looking forward to most of all now is the performance-off in the streets of Abberton - going to be so good!


Liegence wrote:


The only catch we ran into was that there was no mechanic for the ringleader ... am I just missing it? That seems like a significant role, and with Myron’s absence it was giant hole that needed to be filled. The rogue took to it immediately (she was originally going to be a snake dancer, but had actually dumped the idea for ringleader before she actually met Elizia). We ended up allowing her three costar aid checks which seemed fair.

So, there's actually no such role but I'd definitely fold a non-performer character into the Ringleader. For me, we had the party rogue be the Ringleader for a while before the character left the group due to sticky fingers, then they just asked Cubby (the sentient dog in the sideshow) to be the Ringleader.


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I had a successful first session of chapter one a few days ago. My group is generally keen on performances, musical numbers, caring for animals, strong npc roleplay/friendships, and dinosaurs in general, so this AP seemed like a good fit. Our version of Savinth Yhi in Serpent's Skull had regular district wide dance party festivals, to give you some idea.

I think there is a lot of benefit to breathing some life into the NPCs, before starting book one. We are an online Roll20 live group, but I ran a chapter zero as a play by post, for about a month in real life, that took place the night before the first big show in the backstage wagon camp area. It was 80% NPCs interacting with each other and that was fine. It allowed me to develop many of the performer personalities, since that info is generally missing from the book, and the players got to absorb info on few dozen new friends in measured chunks. I also created a 'circus friends and family' gallery thread in our group discord, with portraits and short descriptions for reference. With six clowns, seven dwarf throwers, the Feather Fall 5, and the rest of the named NPCs there are A LOT of new faces.

My clown troop never takes off their make up, or "clown clothes". They are totally dedicated to the clown life. Personalities include goofy, worried, sad, philosophical-intellectual, smart aleck, and one named Meow that behaves as if he was a cat. It's also rumored that they have some pretty wild after show parties.

My Famboli sisters are early twenty somethings who are fiercely competitive with each other, the Feather Fall Five are a family unit, and also talented musicians who provide campfire music in the evenings, and Mordaine is pretty much Mordaine as indicated in the book, but I changed her assistant Hod from a youngish boy, to a young adult (13 year old) goblin.

The dwarven throwers are the new arrivals, and despite appearing to be a group of seven bearded dwarves, not actually dwarves, or even males. No one but Myron is aware of this yet. They very much keep to themselves, and stay absorbed in practice, perhaps avoiding group socialization up to this point. They also turn the barrels they use for their acrobatic antics into a blanket fort kind of home at night, instead of sleeping in a tradition wagon home.

At the end of chapter zero, Myron called everyone to the bonfire, gave a very inspirational pep talk, ahead of the first big performance, which was themed into three sections. The first was a thanks for sticking with this, difficult times dating back to Celestial Menagerie, better times ahead kind of theme. The second part transitioned to a serious cross your Ts, dot your Is, don't mess this up bit, take it very seriously our we might not make it to another performance bit of speech. The final part was a powerful and heartfelt 'this is why we (entertainers) matter to the world' conclusion, that brought everyone to their feet applauding, cheering, and perhaps even crying some tears of joy.

There was also a great moment after the speech, when one of the PCs visited Myron in his wagon, and he relayed a story about a performer/ringleader he knew who had all of the heart and glitz to be a successful performer/leader, but none of the business acuity. He gifted the PC the performers old rhinestone jacket, with a reminder to follow your dreams, but be smart about it.

I was very glad for the chance to show Myron as a thoughtful and considerate leader, instead of just jumping to 'your ring leader, who is supposed to be a great dude, that you know nothing about', is suddenly dead.

Figured I would share these added details, to give others inspiration, or ideas to borrow from.

I'm hoping that extra legwork will keep my players invested in the circus part of the campaign. I do believe it added some interest, context, and certainly familiarity to relate to once book ones straight to it beginning gets started.

So far so good. When Axel begs to join, they already knew he's been asking for a week. They already know Mordaine is a Diva (who more than lived up to her ego BTW, two nat 20s in a row during her big number performance. PERFECT!) They know the clowns by name and personality, and the first performance felt more like PC and NPC friends with a common bond and working together, versus players trying to suddenly relate to all these new npcs that just got introduced.


The circus performance took about 2.5 hours, similar to what
Liegence posted above. We continued into the wagon camp encounters.

After learning the other performers were all freaked out, the party motioned to explore the area, and check things out. Our Ranger had captured one of the vipers that was in the stands, and wanted to let it go away from the wagons first.

The party started to head directly to the rocky area, and very close to the Kanbali wagon, where I didn't necessarily want them to begin poking around inside wagons yet. So they found that someone had opened the gate to that southeast most horse pen, and that several horses had escaped, and the remaining ones were spooked.

A high tracking roll also informed them of horse tracks heading further southeast into the rocky area, but also humanoid, rat, and snake tracks heading south west into the wooded area.

I also had the performers call out from the bonfire area, and alert them that something had gotten into Bardolph, and he was trying to bash his way out of his wagon. I thought this would draw everyone back to Bardolph, but things got more interesting, as they decided to split the party.

Thinking that Bardolph was their trusted mascot, and distressed, or in need of help, the cleric and the rogue moved there and immediately opened up his wagon gate, and we moved into initiative. Two rounds later they were both dying 1, but both stabilized on first try. Bardolph snapped out of it after the 2 rounds, as written, and is whining and licking his unconscious friends wounds.

In the mean time the ranger, wizard, and alchemist took some damage fighting the vipers, but managed to avoid the trap. The performers again alert them that Bardolph attacked, and the cleric and the wizard broke off, heading north. The ranger stopped to grab the backpack, leaving her isolated, and close to the hiding water mephits who are rolled into initiative.

We had to stop there for time. Because of their initial plan to let the snake go to the southwest, they did not yet inspect Myron's wagon, and I'm interested to see how that plays out later. It could be a bit of a surprise if handled after everything else is dealt with, because boss fight always means it's safe now, right?

I anticipate that after healing their downed allies, and certainly dealing with the mephits, they will most likely go to look for the escaped horses, on the assumption that it will lead to a villain or more clues. Unless they decide it's too dangerous, and to look for the horses in the morning.

I'm also considering that a small group of performers take take it upon themselves to go looking for the horses on their own, while the PCs were fighting mephits, with one or two disappearing, and perhaps a petrifaction by cockatrice. Assuming there were some more minions about to capture them, it could add a little urgency and immediate interest to chapter 2. A circus friend NPC death here could also really drive home the point that this is some really serious business going on.

Regardless of whether npcs disappear, or not, the party heading to the rocky area next is great because it will trigger the cockatrice, and give a chance for the grigs to swoop in near the pond on do their thing. They'll certainly come back to the fire when they hear the out of place hootenanny taking place, and I can trigger the 'mini-boss fight', so to speak, which I think is excellent, and would prefer to execute as written.

It might not be the only thing I execute next session. Between the performance and the immediate events after, chapter 1 comes hard and fast! There are a ton of moving parts, so make sure you have your plot point ducks in a row, and ready to rearrange. I would call it an extremely strong opening chapter. The continuous problems that take place during the performance are varied and fun, and the after show events are going to be a legit, serious challenge.


As a side thing, since you seem to be living up to the name Organized, you may want to plan with the assumption the dwarf at the rocks will be shoved into the caravan and kept for 3 books like my party currently are doing with the aim to depetrify him at some point. You could treat it as a corpse, but it also might be more amusing to have this long-term set up involving a very confused dwarf trying to work out where he is and how long he's been stone.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Session 2 - the infamous early game “hard part”: pollen, bears and acid arrows.

2.5 hour session again, and for the record we did 7 encounters in that time, in addition to chatting with the professor at the start of the session, running down what the group knew of Bardolph and Fortunato, some wandering around on perimeter watch etc. 7 encounters in 2.5 hours with 5 players is hella-efficient way to go PF2 action economy.

The Pollen! Essentially all PCs in search mode and rogue has trap spotting and every single secret perception check fails anyway. First PC hit by reaction, fails save - going downhill, right? Damage was negligible. Rogue beats trap’s stealth on initiative, yells “get back” and runs out of area of effect. Pollen on everyone else... all hit, Every. PC. Saves. The half orc wrangles the Druid PC that initially failed, and she just misses with her produce flame aimed at the party after she fails a color spray from the Bard.

Note:when the PCs started their search they did not even go and gather weapons or put in armor, they went from post performance Big Top to Myron’s cart. They find Fortunato’s cape, I give some background, and they head to Baldorph’s wagon next. Do they stop to put on armor or even get weapons? Lolz

So they open the Wagon and the bear immediately downs the rogue (who is wearing the cape) in round one. To be fair, the Barbarian Mauler always has his oversized hammer as it’s part of his circus motif, and he cracks the bear good (to be later regretted). It’s at this point that the group starts to discuss how nice weapons and armor are. The Barb endures the bears round 2 (bad rolls), and then Baldorph starts to whine. It gets sappy as they treat wounds the bear first, barbarian second. Then they gather weapons and armor - hint got.

Rogue PC has to leave so down to party of 4. They pace south and follow the stream coming up on the other side of the clearing against the infamous Mephits. Two acid arrows, one dying PC (Monk); the other PC hit was the half-orc Barb who would’ve gone down if not for Orc Ferocity - Player is loving it. An AoE heal from Druid, then the Barb proceeds to one-Shot the Mephit into oblivion, takes less acid damage than the AoE heal and passes flat check - player is really loving it now. The Bard and the Monk finish the Mephit; Monk goes back down to persistent acid damage dying 2 and hits dying 3 before he is saved. Close call.

They follow back through trail and pass Perception for the wire avoiding it. That’s when they encounter the snakes and absolutely trounce them. In fact, after that remaining encounters go smooth. The Bard performs his way through the Grig encounter without confrontation.

All in all fun session. Consensus is yes, the Mephit encounter with the acid arrows is quite tough.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

How did people deal with the performance duel with PCs who didn't take Performance?

I'm thinking allowing them to use whatever they use for their Trick, but that sort of seems like what the other check is supposed to be for.

And if a player doesn't have a trick, as they intended to be part of the circus support folk are they just out of luck?


BobROE wrote:

How did people deal with the performance duel with PCs who didn't take Performance?

I'm thinking allowing them to use whatever they use for their Trick, but that sort of seems like what the other check is supposed to be for.

And if a player doesn't have a trick, as they intended to be part of the circus support folk are they just out of luck?

The long answer:

Obviously, this challenge is primarily meant for characters that has the Performance skill.

(Characters having the Performance skill is not an unreasonable assumption given the AP is about circus performers)

The "check to gain a +2" is there to give other heroes a fighting chance. After all, the heroes are still only level 2, meaning that the difference between a character that has the skill and a character that does not have the skill isn't (yet) unbridgeable.

The difference between trained and untrained is 4 points. Sure that gives the advantage to the trained character (as it should!), but it is not yet unreasonable to ask an untrained character to at least try. (Had this encounter happened just a few levels later, it would be a different story, since untrained characters don't stand a chance anymore.)

The short answer:

If no hero thinks to take Performance, they will likely lose this challenge.

And that's okay.

Just let Daring Danika & Co humiliate them - gloating and taunting them. After all, there's no real consequence to losing this encounter. In fact, it will probably make the heroes' revenge later on ("Return engagement", the very next encounter) that much sweeter.

Maybe the sting of defeat will prmpt a player to ask for a week of retraining to get Performance, in which case I'd say it's a win-win situation: in the AP you want characters that identify as artists... and not just minmaxed murder hobos or other people that dismiss the Performance skill ;)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I guess, but it does say in the Players Guide that while Performance would be a useful skill, characters can express their performance through other skills.

I'm thinking I might just swap the two checks.

Use the PCs trick check for the first, which would have the benefit of sort of forcing a player to come up with a trick, and use Performance to hype up the check.


BobROE wrote:

I guess, but it does say in the Players Guide that while Performance would be a useful skill, characters can express their performance through other skills.

I'm thinking I might just swap the two checks.

Use the PCs trick check for the first, which would have the benefit of sort of forcing a player to come up with a trick, and use Performance to hype up the check.

I could be barking up the wrong tree but I kind of notice in both your posts you aren't asking so much "how did you run it" but fishing for a rationale/permission to change out the skills so the players don't have to face a situation where their characters aren't trained.

My honest advice if that is an accurate observation: resist the temptation. Long term it's better for you as a GM and for the game as a whole when the players see you let the chips fall where they may.

Good luck with your game!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

You're barking up the wrong tree, please don't. I was wondering if anyone else had had the same concern and if they'd changed it.

Clearly you didn't, and thus ran it as the book suggested.

Since players don't know how its supposed to play out, a GM can do whatever they want with regards to what skill checks to ask for and players will think the chips fell where they did.


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BobROE wrote:

You're barking up the wrong tree, please don't. I was wondering if anyone else had had the same concern and if they'd changed it.

Clearly you didn't, and thus ran it as the book suggested.

Since players don't know how its supposed to play out, a GM can do whatever they want with regards to what skill checks to ask for and players will think the chips fell where they did.

Okay. You really have answered your own question there, but let me backtrack:

BobROE wrote:
How did people deal with the performance duel with PCs who didn't take Performance?
Since the point of choosing between the skills is to be rewarded when your skill comes up AND be penalized when it doesn't, I don't think anything needs to change.
Quote:
I'm thinking allowing them to use whatever they use for their Trick, but that sort of seems like what the other check is supposed to be for.

And I would agree, that's what the other check is for.

Quote:
And if a player doesn't have a trick, as they intended to be part of the circus support folk are they just out of luck?

Circus tricks aren't part of the core rules. If you houserule they can substitute their "trick skill" for Performance, it stands to reason the heroes without a trick can't. But what do I know - it's your houserule! :)

Again, forcing a hero into making an untrained skill check is how Pathfinder 2 is built. It will happen over and over again. It's not the goal that heroes should always have a great shot at success.

At least at level 2 everybody stands a fighting chance. Had this duel happened at level 18, any hero without Performance would score an automatic Critical Failure.

If that's not acceptable to a player of yours I really suggest the jack of all trades feat (not that it would help already at level 2, but still).

Good luck with your game!

Edit: It's called untrained improvisation


Reading up on the stuff players will be facing in the next few sessions, I note that Cavnakash can Channel Smite as a single action. For PCs, that's a two-action activity. Is this an error, or should it be chalked up to NPCs not having to obey PC rules? Being able to both Smite and cast harm in one action is pretty dang powerful, particularly since Cavnakash is loaded up with so many harm spells.


Saqcat wrote:
Also if she is killed, does Cavnakash's profane gift dissapear? And if it does, does Cavnakash notice?

I'd say no. The Profane Gift ability states you need an atone ritual to remove the gift, and says nothing about it being removed by the giver's death.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This is more of a formatting/text errata that anything substantive, but on the Table of Contents, the Section Heading for the four chapters (page 2) is incorrectly listed as "Broken Promises" instead of "The Show Must Go On."


Staffan Johansson wrote:
Reading up on the stuff players will be facing in the next few sessions, I note that Cavnakash can Channel Smite as a single action. For PCs, that's a two-action activity. Is this an error, or should it be chalked up to NPCs not having to obey PC rules? Being able to both Smite and cast harm in one action is pretty dang powerful, particularly since Cavnakash is loaded up with so many harm spells.

Our group didn't find Cavnakash particularly difficult for a boss monster. No, not even with his one-action Smites dealing melee damage plus 3d8.

If you're worried, just have him cast a spell one round. Spellcasting is so much weaker than melee damage in this game, that alone should lower his total damage dealt to manageable levels.

As for the question "error or deliberate" my best answer would be "yes" :) It could be correct, since there is no reason monsters follow PC rules. It could also be a simple typo; after all we're just talking a single character in a long document (a 2 could easily have been typed a 1) I guess I mostly would say he's not as dangerous as it might seem.

Really, if you're concerned, have him send down his warriors (like the text notes as an option). With only his hobbled pterodactyl to help, he should go down like a chump, smites or no smites.

Developer

profounddark wrote:
This is more of a formatting/text errata that anything substantive, but on the Table of Contents, the Section Heading for the four chapters (page 2) is incorrectly listed as "Broken Promises" instead of "The Show Must Go On."

I noticed this about 20 seconds after getting my physical copy from the shipment. :-(


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
profounddark wrote:
This is more of a formatting/text errata that anything substantive, but on the Table of Contents, the Section Heading for the four chapters (page 2) is incorrectly listed as "Broken Promises" instead of "The Show Must Go On."
I noticed this about 20 seconds after getting my physical copy from the shipment. :-(

Such is the way of things.

With any luck, I'll get to start running this AP this fall. I'm so excited.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My party's bard went first in the final encounter and used gravity well to pull Cavnakash and his pteranodon off of the tower. Both failed their saves and the pteranodon failed on the check to soften the landing so the final fight was a bit short (if pretty impressive and funny in the moment).

The party had fun fighting and then talking with Baleni, and they were happy to be able to head back to town and focus on leading some circus performances.


StephenOfOlde wrote:
Super excited to run this AP (my first time running an AP), but I had one thing I was confused by. It was my understanding things tagged "Uncommon" had specific unlock requirements, but I couldn't find anything that said how Players could unlock being able to use the Juggler or Staff Acrobat archetype, or learn the new spells in the volume. Is the unlock requirement just that they're playing this adventure?

UNCOMMON just basically means that the GM will let you know if this is something you can use on your character. Other than that the uncommon doesn't mean much. To me if a character in a circus wants to access these Archetypes I think they would be able to talk to the Flamboni sisters or Featherfall Five to get access fairly easily.

Also, when I started this adventure I let my players take a free archetype if it tied to their act since this seemed like a perfect AP to give all these adventurers a reason to be in this circus. That seemed to go over really well.

(That is an official variant rule in the GMG)


By making AP specific content "uncommon" they ensure each new AP isn't just bloating the main game.

It works a bit like the PHB+1 rule in D&D.

The idea is that a GM could allow all the uncommon content found in a given AP when playing that AP. Then, when the group plays another AP, it's the uncommon content from that AP that's available.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Possible errata:
I'm getting ready to run the battle with Nemmia Bramblecloak and I'm a little confused. Is her sickle damage incorrect? It says she does 1d4+3 damage on a strike instead of 1d4-1 (based on a -1 STR). It wouldn't bother me that much, except that her staff DOES deal 1d4-1 on a hit. And, I assume that if she used the staff two-handed, the expectation would be that she does 1d8-1 (and not 1d8+3).


Monsters don't follow the rules for player characters. Do not expect to be able to calculate or predict monster damage by abilities or equipment. Instead, monsters follow the guidelines (not rules) presented in the Gamemastery Guide.

Hope that helps.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zapp wrote:

Monsters don't follow the rules for player characters. Do not expect to be able to calculate or predict monster damage by abilities or equipment. Instead, monsters follow the guidelines (not rules) presented in the Gamemastery Guide.

Hope that helps.

No, that's not particularly helpful. I was just pointing out a potential typo.


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profounddark wrote:

Possible errata:

I'm getting ready to run the battle with Nemmia Bramblecloak and I'm a little confused. Is her sickle damage incorrect? It says she does 1d4+3 damage on a strike instead of 1d4-1 (based on a -1 STR). It wouldn't bother me that much, except that her staff DOES deal 1d4-1 on a hit. And, I assume that if she used the staff two-handed, the expectation would be that she does 1d8-1 (and not 1d8+3).

Okay, so, I might have tracked down the oddity. This involves giving some benefit of the doubt and a strong leap of logic. In the Gamemastery Guide they give you information of how you'd go about making your own creatures, and they have a chart of Strike Damage and Strike Attack Bonus. On the Strike Damage, for level 3 Low (which Low is intended for spell-casters), they list 1d6+5. In fact, the lowest they get is a straight 1d4. The key part is they don't actually go into minuses for damage. So it is kind of possible when they did the Staff they were using PC rules (i.e. strength determines damage) but when they did the Sickle which seems to be the main weapon they used the creature building rules (which back then were still in beta as the Game Mastery Guide, I believe, was released the following month). There does seem to be a bit of an aversion to having minuses to damage, instead just lowering the damage dice to as low as a flat D4 which at level 1 is kind of a laugh of a fight.

So, I believe what may have happened was a weird blend of PC building rules for the staff and then the in-house beta rules for strike damage for the sickle.


Or the dev just decided it would be fun with a negative modifier. Point is, don't look for what was there in PF1 but isn't there anymore.

Cheers

Developer

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Zapp wrote:

Monsters don't follow the rules for player characters. Do not expect to be able to calculate or predict monster damage by abilities or equipment. Instead, monsters follow the guidelines (not rules) presented in the Gamemastery Guide.

Hope that helps.

This is correct, but I can provide a bit of insight as to the specifics here.

Nemmia adds her Dexterity modifier to damage rather than her Strength modifier with the sickle, because it's a small and fast weapon (agile, finesse). Can PCs do this? Nope. Can monsters and NPCs do things PCs can't do? Yep.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:


This is correct, but I can provide a bit of insight as to the specifics here.

Nemmia adds her Dexterity modifier to damage rather than her Strength modifier with the sickle, because it's a small and fast weapon (agile, finesse). Can PCs do this? Nope. Can monsters and NPCs do things PCs can't do? Yep.

Thanks for helping explain that, Ron! I'm new to Pathfinder. My last d20 game was D&D 4E, so I'm used to monsters not "making sense" as compared to character builds, but it stood out as weird that her staff attack seemed so much weaker (and followed standard PC rules). I also had trouble making sense of it because her damage output seemed lackluster as compared to the guidelines in the Gamemastery Guide (with a 5-6 point mean damage as compared to the low guide of 8-9). However, it makes sense that the "cheat" here was "add her Dexterity modifier to damage."

Thanks again!


It might be that we're having a "can't see the forest for the trees" type of situation here.

Nemmia just isn't a strong weapons combatant. Each round she's forced to make staff or sickle attacks she's essentially wasting her time.

Whether she's doing +5 staff attacks or +9 sickle attacks doesn't matter.

Yes of course she should use her sickle, but that's beside the point: The heroes have already won if you make her rely on mediocre melee damage instead of using her magic.

(That doesn't mean she can't run out of spells, and *have* to resort to desperate measures. My point is simply that making melee attacks IS desperate measures for someone built like Nemmia)


Ron Lundeen wrote:
Zapp wrote:

Monsters don't follow the rules for player characters. Do not expect to be able to calculate or predict monster damage by abilities or equipment. Instead, monsters follow the guidelines (not rules) presented in the Gamemastery Guide.

Hope that helps.

This is correct, but I can provide a bit of insight as to the specifics here.

Nemmia adds her Dexterity modifier to damage rather than her Strength modifier with the sickle, because it's a small and fast weapon (agile, finesse). Can PCs do this? Nope. Can monsters and NPCs do things PCs can't do? Yep.

Thanks Ron, but the bigger takeaway here shouldn't be that we can or need to justify monster abilities by "rules-aligned" explanations like "she gets to use Dexterity on damage as well as Attacks for agile finesse weapons" almost as if she was a Rogue with the Thief Racket despite being a Druid-y kind of character.

The bigger lesson here should simply be "she deals this kind of damage because the developer decided to, even when it breaks the guidelines of the GMG" (as they actually do in this case).

The justifications you provide imply Nemmia's damage is based on calculations, such as equipment (a sickle doing d4 damage) and ability scores (adding +3 because her Dex is +3).

That's simply misleading. Nemmia could just as easily be making d6+2 damage because the dev chose that. Is that a damage expression taken out of thin air?

Yes and no.

Yes, because, yes it is. The d6 and the +2 cannot be traced back to any underlying statistics, and that's just fine. Monsters simply don't have to follow any of the CRB rules, unless the designer specifically wants to maintain an illusion that they do.

Nemmia could just as easily have been listed as dealing d10 damage ("d10+0" I mean) with her sickle. The average remains the same, the die size is only wrong for a player character. Maybe the developer likes how wild and unpredictable her sickle swings are when they can deal anything from 1 to 10 points of damage?

No because the dev wants to create a monster whose melee damage is significantly impaired, well below the lowest category of the GMG guidelines. So the details are taken from thin air, but the average number isn't (or shouldn't be).

So I'm not disagreeing. I'm just pointing out that Ron's answer maintains the illusion NPCs follow PC rules. That is, I'm pointing out that this is an illusion; you CAN choose to follow PC rules for your monsters, but you don't HAVE to.


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Zapp wrote:
I'm just pointing out that Ron's answer maintains the illusion NPCs follow PC rules.
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Can PCs do this? Nope. Can monsters and NPCs do things PCs can't do? Yep.

I'm not sure if we read the same thing here.

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